Watch the Bird Burn: A Twitter News Masterpost

I just Googled “when did Elon Musk buy Twitter?” because I couldn’t remember. The answer: fifteen days ago. What a long, strange trip it’s been.

Anyway, here’s a collection of Twitter-related news as we watch the birdsite burn down, fall over, then sink into the swamp. To submit any I’ve missed, find me on

First Things First

Oct. 28 Welcome to Hell, Elon (The Verge). If there will be one classic piece of writing on the entire Twitter fiasco – one anthologized in overpriced textbooks and assigned as mandatory reading for every first-year business class – this is it.

Oct. 28 Can We Count the Ways in Which Elon is Going to Regret Owning Twitter? (TechDirt). As the Magic 8 Ball told us repeatedly in our youth, signs point to no.

It’s About the Money

Nov 7. Musk discusses putting all of Twitter behind a paywall (Casey Newton, Platformer). Musk tossed around the idea of making people subscribe for the coveted blue check mark almost immediately. He’s also considered making the entire site pay to play.

Nov. 9 Elon Musk sells almost $4bn of Tesla shares (BBC). Musk sold 19.5 million shares of Tesla worth about $3.95 billion. Since initiating the whole Twitter think, Musk has sold about $20 billion worth of Tesla. Naturally, Tesla’s stock price is not responding well. (Oh, and Tesla is facing a recall of some 40,000 vehicles (NBC) for potential power steering problems after a software update.)

Nov. 11 Elon Musk learns the hard way that being a Twitter troll is way more fun than being a mod (The Verge). As one of my friends noted, “$44 billion of fucking around buys an awful lot of finding out.”

Life Inside the Bird

Nov. 6 Twitter: Musk defends deep cuts to company’s workforce (BBC). It only took a week for about half of Twitter’s worldwide staff to be pink-slipped (pink-emailed?).

Nov. 8 Here’s how a Twitter engineer says it will break in the coming weeks (MIT Technology Review). Cutting half of Twitter’s workforce left it without enough people to sustain the platform, according to an engineer.

Nov. 10 Twitter’s Security and Privacy Leaders Quit Amidst Musk’s Chaotic Takeover (Forbes). At least three of Twitter’s executives in charge of security and privacy quit, raising major – and majorly expensive – questions about federal compliance, among others.

Nov. 10 Inside Elon Musk’s first meeting with Twitter employees (The Verge). A complete transcript of the Chief Twit’s meeting with the remaining Twitter employees. Yikes.

Nov. 11 Twitter’s new leaders charged with helping Musk execute “dumb things” (Ars Technica). No, surely not! Doesn’t more money mean more genius, after all?

Nov. 11 Inside the Twitter meltdown (Casey Newton and Zoe Schiffer, Platformer). I can’t say it better than the authors: “Everything went from bad to worse at Twitter on Thursday.”

Here Comes the Law

Nov. 10 Musk’s Twitter loses key executives, triggers sharp FTC warning (Politico). The resignation of privacy and security leadership prompted the Federal Trade Commission to remind Musk that it can and will fine Twitter millions or billions of dollars per day for violations. Oof.

Nov. 10 Mass layoffs at Twitter, Meta and other companies spotlight a little-known US law that protects employees (CNBC). Elon, my poppet, my pignsnie, you can’t just go firing people on the spot. At least not this many people. At least not in California or New York. Anyway, brace yourself for WARN Act-related class actions, sir.

Nov. 11 Saudi Arabia is the Second-Largest Investor in Twitter. Sen. Chris Murphy Thinks the U.S. Should Look Into That. (Slate) That’s right – after Musk, the next largest Twitter investor is Saudi prince Al Waleed bin Talal. Insert “it’s fine” dog meme here.

How the Whole “User Verification” Thing is Going

Nov. 2 Hey Elon: Let Me Help You Speed Run the Content Moderation Learning Curve (TechDirt). A super-quick primer on why social media sites actually need content moderation (and why it’s so hard to get right). Reading the entire piece is guaranteed to make you 1500 percent more qualified to run Twitter than Elon Musk is.

Nov. 10 For $8, Twitter Blue users create a wave of checkmarked impostor accounts (Ars Technica). Imagine being the pharma giant who has to tell everyone that no, insulin is still outrageously expensive.

Nov. 11 Twitter brings back ‘official’ account tag; $8 blue-tick option disappears (Reuters). Who would have guessed that letting people pay to present themselves as official brand and individual accounts would have ended badly?

Nov. 11 15 Fake Verified Twitter Accounts Causing Absolute Chaos Right Now (Gizmodo). Turns out a lot of people have $8 and no reason not to pretend to be celebrities, politicians, or major corporations.

When Twitter stops letting you impersonate Tesla for the good of the nation, consider sending $8 my way for less lolz but more competence.

Plant Speed Date: Spathiphyllum

(Plant Speed Date is a series in which I attempt to introduce you, the reader, to as many plants as possible in a short period.)

Hello, My Name Is: Spathiphyllum spp.

My Friends Call Me: Peace lily

Turn ons: Medium to rich well-drained soil, high humidity, shade

Turn offs: Full sun, dry air, crowded roots

What I Do For a Living: Hang out in your house, bask in the tropical shade (USDA Zones 10-11), improve your air quality, look pretty

My Best Features Are: It’s a toss-up between my lovely white flowers and my striking dark green foliage, darling. But you don’t have to choose – keep me happy and I’ll give you both.

My Exes Would Tell You I:

  • Poisoned their cat. Like all the worst lies, this one is half true. Despite my common name, I’m unrelated to those dreadful Liliaceae – that family of cat murderers. I’m one of the Araceae family and proud to be so. That said, cats that dare to chew on my lovely leaves tend to experience some stomach upset. It’s best for both of us if we’re kept apart, really.
  • Am a diva about dryness. True, if harsh. I love my humidity. The closer to 80 percent, the better. Also, if I don’t have enough to drink, I’ll simply become too limp to stand. It’s not drama, it’s communication, dear.
  • Don’t mind being rootbound. I absolutely do. What do you think I am, a common hoya? Just divide me out every spring and share my glory with your friends.
  • Scratched their DVDs. I’d put them back in the case if I had opposable thumbs, STEPHANIE.

How to Make Me Yours: Many local nurseries and florists carry my kind. Or find a friend with one and ask for a bit. (I do not take well to being “propagated,” like some members of my family. Pothos, I’m looking at you.)

Fund future plant speed dates here.

Plant Speed Date: Vinca minor

(Plant Speed Date is a series in which I attempt to introduce you, the reader, to as many plants as possible in a short period.)

Hello, My Name Is: Vinca minor

My Friends Call Me: Periwinkle, myrtle

Turn ons: Medium to rich well-drained soil, average moisture, shade

Turn offs: Full sun, being told to keep my runners to myself

What I Do For a Living: Make a fabulous ground cover (USDA Zones 4-9), fill weird shady holes that would otherwise go bare, make deer look for something else to eat, conquer my foes by spreading throughout an entire shaded lawn or wooded area.

My Best Features Are: The cute little flowers I produce in spring. Usually they’re blue-purple, but I offer varieties you wouldn’t believe. Also, I’m smaller and tougher than my big sister, Vinca major.

My Exes Would Tell You I:

  • Killed their lawn. A total lie – grass doesn’t even like the kind of places I love to grow.
  • Refused to leave after multiple attempts at eviction. Totally true. There’s no getting rid of me, but why would you want to? I’m your woodland true love, baby. My only real enemy is glyphosate, but who wants that in their yard? Not us!
  • Bloom for like five minutes a year. It’s not MY fault you don’t pay attention when I’m telling you spring is coming. Next time, stop ogling that daffodil with the big pistils.
  • Stole their car. Pfft, don’t leave the keys in the ignition next time, BRAD.

How to Make Me Yours: Find a patch some neighbor has planted and grab some runners in the spring. (Asking permission is nice, I guess – I never ask permission for anything.) Or buy plants at a local nursery.

Fund future plant speed dates here.